Pardew backs Hammers skipper
By Mark Buckingham
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Alan Pardew has offered a staunch defence of West Ham captain Nigel Reo-Coker.
Alan Pardew has offered a staunch defence of West Ham United captain Nigel Reo-Coker as he desperately tries to end the club's run of eight successive defeats.
In recent weeks, Reo-Coker has been singled out for criticism for his displays as the club lurch from one loss to the next.
But Hammers boss Pardew has praised the character shown by the midfielder and expects his skipper to lead from the front against Blackburn Rovers on Sunday, live on Sky Sports 1.
"Our captain I'm expecting to lead us on Sunday the way he led us last year with that drive and commitment," Pardew told Sky Sports News.
"He has done an incredible favour to play on the side of the team for us for the last two games.
"That has restricted him, but he will be back to his best on Sunday.
"I hope the fans don't buy into it too much. They trust them (the players) because that trust is important and I hope they get right behind the team to make sure we are pulling in the same direction."
While Pardew accepts he is under pressure at Upton Park, he is keen to play down the notion that defeat to Blackburn will prove to be his last game in charge.
He added: "We are right in the eye of the storm, so to speak, but like all storms they pass and what you are left with is what damage there is.
"I don't know what that's going to be at the moment.
"Of course, I am under pressure. Every week in this business you are under pressure. Arsene Wenger is under pressure to keep winning.
"We are all under different pressure. I'm just trying to keep the team concentrated on the important thing which is playing the game on Sunday.
"I can't control the uncontrollable. I can only control what I can control. I will just focus on my team.
"I'm hoping we win on Sunday for our fans, for the players, and for the well-being not just for me, but for the chairman right down to the tea lady at West Ham."